Three weeks ago, just after the Texas Bowl matchup was announced, our pal Rush Roberts over at Good Bull Hunting posted his five favorite Texas A&M-Kansas State moments.
It’s now time to flip the script, and present a much, much better list. One that doesn’t include a certain fumble or a certain guy stepping out of bounds at the one foot line.
5. KSAC ruins A&M’s perfect season
There’s not a lot of information about this one, but we had to find room for it. In their final season as a member of the KCAC before joining the Missouri Valley, K-State headed to Houston on November 20, 1912 to take on undefeated A&M. The Kansas Aggies came into the game at 6-2, with losses to Nebraska and Kansas but a win over Colorado the week before hopping the train to Texas.
A&M, meanwhile, was 7-0 with wins over Arkansas, Oklahoma, and decent enough Tulane and Mississippi A&M (State) squads.
And our boys got the win. They went on to beat Washburn to end the year 8-2, while A&M was so mad they finished 8-1 after beating the living snot out of Baylor.
The teams played again the following year, and KSAC shut out the TexAgs 12-0. And that would have been the #5 moment here, except for one minor detail: both teams sort of stunk in 1913.
4. Welcome to the Big 12
October 19, 1996. K-State, ranked 21st and 5-1 with the usual Nebraska loss blighting the calendar, traveled to College Station for the first time in 20 years to face unranked A&M, suffering through a 3-3 start which included an embarrassing loss at Southwestern Louisiana, or as we now know it, Louisiana-Lafayette.
Of course, A&M’s not the only team to go to Lafayette and lose, and we’ll get back to that in a minute.
The Aggies committed five turnovers. The most important one was with only 53 seconds left at the Wildcat 17-yard line, and K-State hung on for a 23-30 win.
(If this video doesn’t work for you, you can go watch it directly at the K-State site.)
3. Bill Snyder restores order
October 17, 2009. Bill Snyder had returned to the sideline, although things could have been going better. After all, the Wildcats were only 3-3 and unranked, with an embarrassing loss at Louisiana-Lafayette on the calendar.
Wow, man, this seems familiar.
A&M wasn’t in much better shape, sitting at 3-2 after three bodybag wins and losses to Arkansas and Oklahoma State. Still, that latter loss had been a five-point affair against the #13 team in the nation. K-State had just barely squeaked past Iowa State at Arrowhead two weeks before, and had been hammered by Texas Tech in the interim.
It was a debacle. The Aggies were held to minus-13 yards rushing, which is only the second-worst rushing performance Texas A&M has ever posted against K-State. A&M committed five turnovers. Daniel Thomas and Keithen Valentine combined for six touchdowns on the ground. Grant Gregory — GRANT GREGORY, FOR CHRISSAKE — was 10-13 for 147 yards.
K-State led 38-0 at the half, and Brandon Banks returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown. At the gun, it was 62-14, and Aggieville was a complete mess afterward.
Here, with the former Samantha Steele as your sideline reporter, is the full game.
2. This game is still underway, actually
Oh, you remember this one well enough. After starting 7-0 and ascending to 12th in the polls, K-State was blown out by Oklahoma and lost a heartbreaker in Stillwater. The latter loss didn’t even hurt their poll position, as they stayed at 17. A&M was 5-4 and on their way to firing Mike Sherman.
And then the Aggies went up by 10 in the fourth quarter. And Collin Klein hit Chris Harper for a 53-yard touchdown, and Anthony Cantele kicked a game-tying 44-yarder into the wind, and the game went into overtime, and, well, here you go:
1. Minus Thirty-Five
October 18, 1997. The Aggies’ first visit to Manhattan since a 10-0 win in 1975 finally evened the score for K-State’s wins in the 1910s. A&M, 5-0 and ranked 14th, was favored against the 20th-ranked Wildcats, who were 4-1 after their traditional trouncing by Nebraska.
It was a disaster for the Aggies. Sure, they blocked a punt and scored. And they picked off a Michael Bishop pass and returned it to the one-yard line, from whence they couldn’t help but score.
That wasn’t nearly enough. The Aggies only managed 90 yards of offense, and 125 of that was through the air.
No, there’s no typo involved. Let that roll over your tongue. First, the fact that K-State held A&M to 125 yards passing. Second, the fact that it meant A&M ran for MINUS 35 YARDS.
Shockingly, despite this, the game was still a one-score affair after D’Andre Hardeman scored that one-yard touchdown. It was only late in the game when the Wildcats finally found third gear and put the Aggies away in a 36-17 win.
A&M would finish that year 9-4 and occupying K-State’s pregame rank of 20th, with close losses to Texas Tech and to UCLA in the Cotton Bowl, and a blowout loss to Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. K-State, of course, would end the year 11-1, ranked 8th, with a Fiesta Bowl win in their pocket.
And it really all started that day in Manhattan.